by Lucette Davies
Britain has a representative democracy but over recent years has moved steadily away from this, and not just because of how our politicians behave; but in part because of the way the public are now behaving. This could easily change, with county council elections approaching the public could act to show the politicians that we do value our democracy.
At the core of a representative democracy is, the people voting for who they want to represent them in parliament. It relies on the public finding out what the different candidates are offering if they are elected. It relies on the public then making a decision based on this, about who will best represent them during the next term of office.
In the 201o general election only six out of ten voters turned out on the day and in local elections it is usually around one in three voters actually voting. Only 42% turned out for the referendum on changing Britain’s voting system for General Election.
The public have become disillusioned with politics but however disillusioned you are, politicians will be making decisions that will impact on your life in many ways.
Party membership has fallen dramatically over the last ten years, but the public can influence a party if they join and have a say in how that party behaves.
At what point will it be said that as Britain has such a low turnout at elections we can no longer say we have a representative democracy? A democracy demands more from the public than simply turning out to vote. If people want change there is a lot they can do now to influence change. The growth of online campaign groups such as 38 degrees and Avaaz are ways of having some input. Anyone can start up an e-petition and there are so many campaign groups running now. There has never been more reason for the public to do all they can to challenge the political system.